Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Saving Money Challenge: Use Shortening in Place of Butter When Baking

I kind of like to bake.  A little.  I'm not really good, but I make due with my skills.

So I am here to tell you that if you bake a lot, specifically cookies, you can save some moolah by substituting Shortening for Butter.  Why is this cost effective?

A pack of butter has 2 cups of butter in it (1/2 cup per stick, 4 sticks per pack).  Butter these days is expensive.  It runs typically about $3 for a pack.  And I think that's a good price at the grocery store (it's been a while since I bought butter - and I usually by the BJ's brand - 4 packs for $10 - so about $2.50 each pack there).

That canister of Shortening cost me $4.99.  Crisco brand is actually pretty cheap at BJ's - it's a huge container for $6.99 the last time I checked.  It's probably more expensive now.  Anyways, that container of Shortening that cost me $5 is the equivalent of just over 21 sticks of butter.  Or 5+ packs.  So you do the math - 5 packs of butter X $3 each = $15 or 1 generic can of shortening for $5?

I found out a really awesome trick to do when you are baking with shortening.  I think my mother told me. Or maybe I just stumbled across it somewhere.  If you are using a Kitchenaid, just throw the needed shortening in the Kitchenaid and beat for about 3 minutes or more.  Get it nice and fluffy.  Then beat in the sugar, vanilla and eggs and again, beat for a long time.  Not like 20 minutes, but a few minutes.  Ever since I started beating the shortening prior to adding other ingredients, my cookies have gotten a lot better.  I don't know if it's just all in the mind, but I think it works.

And here is proof of awesomeness - The Toll House Cookie recipe made with Shortening vs. Butter.  They are actually very airy and very chewy.  I think this is because shortening has a higher melting temperature than butter - so it doesn't cook as thoroughly as butter does.  Or something like that.  My Home Economics classes from college were a LONG time ago (and yes, I took some Home Economics classes in college.  I thought I'd be a Home Ec. teacher, but I couldn't pass Organic Chemistry (a required class for Home Ec.) and after a few teaching classes, I remembered that I don't like kids.)

1 comment:

Erica @ Just Call Me Cheap said...

I started doing this when my first baby had a milk allergy and because I was breastfeeding I had to cut the milk out of my diet. Baby #2 also had a milk allergy and now baby #3 does too. I guess I'll be trucking my butt to BJ's to buy a colossal size can of shortening!

Thanks for the tip about beating the shortening first- I'll try that the next time i make myself some cookies.